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Cuisines of the Caucasus Mountains: Recipes, Drinks, and Lore from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Russia Hardcover – October 30, 2007

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About the Author

Kay Shaw Nelson is the author of seventeen cookbooks, including All Along the Rhine (Hippocrene, 2001) and The Scottish-Irish Pub & Hearth Cookbook (Hippocrene, 1999). Her articles have appeared in such publications as Gourmet, Woman's Day, House & Garden, Family Circle, Cuisine, and The Washington Post. She is also a culinary historian, food and travel columnist for The Scottish Banner, and a contributor to Washington Woman. She resides in Bethesda, Maryland.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 271 pages
  • Publisher: Hippocrene Books; First Edition edition (October 30, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0781809282
  • ISBN-13: 978-0781809283
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.4 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 2.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,403,539 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By K. E Pearce on June 18, 2005
Format: Hardcover
What a great looking book. My mouth watered as I looked at the cover.

Kay Shaw Nelson is a student of Russian studies - thereby someone who really did research in the countries that this book covers and not just a compiler of other people's information. She even gives some reviews of places to eat in-country! She did a nice job of including literary references and short stories about some of the dishes. I'm no chef and I was able to make most of the items with ease. The tasks are easy to follow and replacements for some ingredients not easily found outside of the Caucasus are included.

Caucasus food has great flavor and uses herbs and spices masterfully. It is healthy and tasty. There are many vegetarian options as well.

Some of my favorites: page 165 rice-filled tomatoes, page 203 lavash (this actually tasted like lavash!), page 256 tan, page 42 cucumber-yogart dip, page 79 green beans and eggs.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By B. Lessard on December 21, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
In the acknowledgements, the author thanks two editors and her daughter for editorial assistance. I shudder to think what the first draft looks like if this is the triply edited version. I'm not as well-informed as some reviewers, but even I found some significant errors and poor editorial choices.

The "Lak Winter Stew" and the "Russian Cabbage Soup" are on facing pages which makes it very easy to determine that they are nearly identical (same ingredients except the Lak dish calls for butter while the Russian dish calls for vegetable oil *or* butter and the Lak dish calls for a large stalk of celery while the Russian dish calls for a medium one). If you're attempting to survey cuisines as varied as those of this region, don't waste space with duplicate recipes! I suspect the entire on-site research for this book occurred during the single press junket she mentions in the introduction.

Also she says lobio (a mainstay bean in Georgian cooking) are red kidney beans, not small red beans. I cannot, however, accuse her of large scale mistranslation as the local names for most dishes and ingredients are completely omitted.

I purchased this because I am fascinated with Georgian cooking and wanted to learn more about the surrounding region. I was also looking forward to the travelogue that accompanies recipes in many of my favorite cookbooks. There are better surveys of the region (I would recommend the chapter on this region from _Flatbreads and Flavors_ (Alford and Duguid)) and frankly the prose, while occasionally evocative, is ornate and poorly edited. I'll leave you with this quote:

"Even before the domestication of animals. . . .early man relied on milk from his goats, sheep, or camels (p73)"
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Michael the Skeptic on January 25, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A Georgian family that I had met had brought over some of their native food to thank me for helping them out in a business situation. That evening, friends and I tried it, and we just loved it. What's so wonderful about the food of the region is that it's like a combination of foods from the middle east, Europe, Russia, and Asia.

Of course, I wanted to find a cookbook, and this was one of the few (maybe the only one) available on Amazon.

The great thing about this book is that it is much more than just a cookbook. It is a journal about the author's travels to Caucasus region. So every recipe has a story behind it, so, if you're looking for a just a listing of recipes, this book might be disappointing. In fact, I read it cover to cover, which is something you don't usually do with your typical cookbook.

Since it's a cookbook first, I've tried some of the recipes. If you're a vegan, there are a lot of good ones, especially a listing of several types of pilafs. If you're used to the standard rice pilafs offered in the US, you'd be surprised at what you can make. And how spicy some of them are. I've actually made it a part of my usual diet.

As I am not a vegan, the lamb pilaf was a hit for me. I am addicted.

To be honest, I've probably only tried about 1% of the recipes. I haven't even hit the dessert section yet. But the ones I've tried are already staples of my diet, mainly because I truly enjoy the flavors that are stars of the spices in these recipes.

This is one great book, you are not a cook, and you are just interested in some of the cultural history of the area. The author, Kay Shaw Nelson, graduated with a degree in Russian studies, and is a political journalist, so her knowledge makes the cookbook that much more interesting. Oh, one more reason to love the book for me. The author is a fellow alumnus of Syracuse University. Go Orange!
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